• La Fée aux Choux (1896) - Alice Guy-Blaché

    Alice Guy’s “first film, 1896’s LA FEE AUX CHAUX (The Cabbage Fairy), is a fantastical, humorous short about a woman growing up in a cabbage patch; along with some of Georges Méliès’ shorts of the same year, it vies for the title of first narrative film in history.

    Guy was 23 …

    Filmed at a small house … with a minimal cast that included her friends, Guy later recounted the production: ‘In this place, I made my debut as a director. A sheet painted by a neighbourhood painter who specialised primarily in scarecrows and the like; a vague set—rows of cabbages constructed by a carpenter; costumes rented around the Porte St Martin. The cast: my friends, a crying baby, a worried mother. My first film thus saw the light.’

    [Guy] was born in France in 1873, and began her career as secretary to one of cinema’s technological pioneers, Léon Gaumont, a French inventor and early film distributor, whose Chromophone was one of the first widely-used sync sound systems … She attended meetings with pioneers such as the Lumière Bros. (who exhibited some of the first ever motion pictures in 1895, an event at which she and Gaumont were present) and was a quick study … 

    At the time, films such as those of the Lumières were defiantly non-narrative, instead documenting everyday events … Guy realized film’s potential as a storytelling medium, and approached her employer: “I thought I could do better” … ” (excerpted from Justin Morrow, nofilmschool.com, March 9, 2017)

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